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Niki Achitoff-Gray

Niki Achitoff-Gray

Associate Editor

Niki is the associate editor of Serious Eats and a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She's pretty big into oysters, offal, and most edible things. You can follow her on Twitter @eatandcry.

  • Website
  • Location: Brooklyn
  • Favorite foods: Ceviche of virtually any nature, pulled pork dripping in BBQ sauce, pork belly. Pizzapizzapizza. Also: radishes, poached eggs, soft stinky cheese, shiitakes, braised octopus, sour beers, super dark chocolate, oysters, and raw clams. Did I mention pizza? I like pizza.
  • Last bite on earth: A massive platter of oysters circling a plate of steak tartare would do the trick. Mmm dangerous raw things.

Eating Roasted Alligator and Spider-on-a-Stick at the Explorer's Club 110th Annual Gala

As befits an association boasting a membership roster of astronauts, astrophysicists, archaeologists, and myriad other contemporary explorers, The Explorer's Club 110th Annual Dinner kicked off with an adventuresome foray into the world of exotic dining. We swung by for the cocktail hour, featuring a menu ranging from whole animals to their less commonly savored parts (think many a nether-region), along with insects and other invertebrates, created by chef-scientist Gene Rurka. More

Serious Entertaining: A True Detective Dinner Party Menu

Sunday marks the season finale of my new favorite nightmare / widely acclaimed HBO series, True Detective. And if there's one thing I've learned from watching this particular mystery unfold, it's that the show is ripe with allusion. To food. Also, I'm told, to some other things, like death, Nietzsche, and the occult. Here's what we'll be eating. More

The Serious Eats Guide to Whole Grains

Grains have been a staple of the human diet for the last, oh, 10,000 years. And if you think about it properly—by which I mean with a few debatable leaps of logic and some generous omissions—grains are also basically responsible for all the best things: beer, adorable pets, beds, cheesy popcorn, and, yes, internet. In that fertile crescent-agricultural revolution-cradle of civilization sense, that is.

But have you ever listened to someone wax rhapsodic about the delights of whole grains and thought to yourself, meh? Welcome to the club that I totally just quit.


Serious Entertaining: A Bavarian-Style Alpine Feast

On a family ski trip a few years back, my father and I wound up dining at a certain unnamed restaurant in Taos, New Mexico, where the overarching theme was lederhosen, braided pigtails, lots of logs, and steins und steins of beer. Snowed into my apartment in New York City, I've taken to reminiscing about the quaint atmosphere, charming in its unabashed artificiality—the folk music and ye olde German fonts, the tiled wood-burning stove, and, most importantly, the hearty Bavarian fare. Here's how to bring some of that flavor home. More

Yes or No Sexy: Debunking the Valentine's Day Aphrodisiac

My boyfriend and I are coming up on our six-year anniversary, and though we love each other dearly, we seem to have left the honeymoon phase of our relationship back in college. Would a single aphrodisiac be powerful enough to combat our five-plus years of accumulated farts, burps, and dissipating sense of mystery? I did some highly scientific calculations and concluded that our chances of, erm, success would be exponentially improved if we force-fed ourselves all the aphrodisiacs. More

Serious Entertaining: A Chinese New Year Feast

I love a good food-centric holiday, so while I'm not Chinese, Vietnamese, or Korean you can bet I'll be cooking up a storm when the Lunar New Year rolls around next Friday, January 31. And if you or your family are from one of those countries, chances are you, too, will be gathering with friends and relatives to feast and spread goodwill for the year to come. We've pulled together some of our favorite symbolic dishes commonly enjoyed during the Chinese New Year. More

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets seem to have suffered a bit of a PR crisis in recent years. And if you've ever stopped short of eating one to wonder what's actually in these things?, then you're living proof. We set out to recuperate that image, by eating our way through nine different brands of frozen chicken nuggets to find the leader of the pack. See the results after the jump! More

Game Day Eats: 16 Wing Recipes We Love

Some people like to actually watch their football and chow down on wings in between major plays. Others (cough, me) watch the fans, waiting until they're fully absorbed in the game to make a play and snatch up every last wing all stealthy-like when nobody's looking. Either way, we've got you covered with 16 recipes—from sriracha-doused to double-fried to classic Buffalo—to keep you rich in wings all season long. More

Win Pop Chart Lab's 'The Various Varieties of Fruits'

Have you ever performed an innocent Google search, just to find your WHOLE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN?! Because that's exactly what happened to us here at Serious Eats a few weeks back, when we simply had to know what qualified as the world's largest berry. Luckily, we came across this handy poster from our friends over at Pop Chart Lab to help put some order to the madness that is botanical nomenclature. And we're giving away three copies to you, our even luckier readers. More

Is This Neon-Covered Sushi Joint the Trippiest Restaurant in NYC?

Perhaps you've spotted Fushimi's gaping red maw at the intersection of North 11th and Driggs, its stretch of tinted floor-to-ceiling windows and strutting lights. Perhaps you've even caught a glimpse of yourself in the silver sheen of its mirrored doors, eyes widened as you experience a sweeping sensation of bafflement, terror, and awe. Is it da club? And what kind of club? More

Niki's Best New York Bites of 2013

In a cruel, paradoxical twist of fate, I've eaten so many memorable meals this year that I can't help but feel I'm forgetting several that deserve to top this list. Alas, such is the life of a food writer in a city as rich with phenomenal dining options as New York. Many of the meals that have stuck with me are those I return to again and again; some because they're truly one of a kind, some for their unparalleled level of execution. See my top ten after the jump! More

Serious Entertaining: A New Year's Eve Cocktail Party

For those of us hosting a party this New Year's Eve, the pressure is on. After all, you, and you alone, bear the responsibility for each person's final sips and bites of the year, not to mention their very first of 2014. Luckily, we've got you covered, with cocktails, sparkling wines, hors d'oeuvres, and dips, snacks, and sweets galore to keep your guests in quality food and drink on both sides of the midnight hour. More

How come SE is not showing up on Facebook?

@Dandbuilder, I think this is an unfortunate result of new Facebook policies. Because we don't pay to promote our Facebook posts, they are reaching fewer individuals. I'd encourage you to continue visiting our Facebook page and hopefully we'll find a way to improve the situation moving forward.

Open Thread: Do You Lick Your Beaters?

Thank you all for restoring my faith in humanity. Now I just have to find a treatment program for my roommate and boyfriend.

Taste Test: We Try Every Flavor of Cheez-It Crackers

@theotherworldly, no, I have not. but now i'm definitely going to!

@elangomatt, I have some under my desk (yes, this is my life), so I just gave it a shot. The difference is pretty subtle, but I do think the reduced fat ones are little muted and don't seem to finish with quite as strong a cheesy/tangy/long-lasting/addictive note. That said, I doubt I'd notice if I wasn't eating them alongside one another.

Taste Test: We Try Every Flavor of Cheez-It Crackers

@elangomatt, we opted to leave out the reduced fat because we were more focused on trying and comparing the different flavor profiles, using the original as a baseline. Though now that you mention it, 13 would've totally been a pain to photograph. Sorry to disappoint! ;)

Serious Entertaining: Happy Pi(e) Day!

Hokay, all points well taken. Post updated accordingly!

Serious Entertaining: Happy Pi(e) Day!

@logan, I salute your remark. We've always referred to it as International on the site. How about Multinational Pi(e) Day?

Can't Get Into Roberta's? Where to Eat Instead

@happyartguy, thanks for sharing your picks! I've been living in the neighborhood for about 4 years, and I agree 100% on Ghia, Guacuco, and Northeast Kingdom (in fact, you should look at my 24 hours in Bushwick post and Ghia write-up). But I'm sorry to say that I was pretty disappointed by the food at 1 Knickerbocker (interesting menu, but execution needs a lot of work), King Noodle, and Mominette (food and service has regularly been really hit or miss), which is why I didn't include them. Fritzl's is great (had the burger like 2 nights ago!) but also quite a trek from Roberta's. Then again, I acknowledge that Anchored Inn is a bit far, too. And Three Diamond Door is definitely a fun spot but tends to get packed, especially with the backyard closed; it's not the lowest key spot to wait out a restaurant reservation. I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't been to Shinobi Ramen yet, but I'll have to check it out soon!

Can't Get Into Roberta's? Where to Eat Instead

@Marianalcf, agreed on all almost all fronts, though I have to admit that I haven't been wowed by El Mio Cid. May be time to revisit, though. What do you recommend there?

West Coast Events for March and Beyond

@magtured, sorry about that! fixing asap.

Behind the Scenes in Maggie's Home Kitchen (and Bar)

@chefyannyc, all set now!

Behind the Scenes in Niki's Home Kitchen

@HRockefeller, yes, it is! With something else in there, too. Can't recall, though, because...I drank it all.

Is there a way to remove a favorited article?

I'm sorry to say that we don't currently have a solution for you. It's an older function that's tough to adjust; if anything changes, I'll be sure to let you know.

Is there a way to remove a favorited article?

Looking into it and will have an answer for you shortly!

The Serious Eats Guide to Whole Grains

@scalfin, frankly, I'm not familiar with finger millet but I'll gladly look into it and get back to you.

@armchair1, good point. It's true that Israeli couscous is different from "regular" couscous, but it's not like the difference between orzo and rice, since both couscous and Israeli couscous (and orzo, for that matter) are made with wheat. But yes, Israeli couscous is actually a baked wheat product. Content updated accordingly. Sorry for the confusion.

The Serious Eats Guide to Whole Grains

@stacytg, most grains that you'll find in US supermarkets have already undergone extensive washing and don't require a rinse. Especially when it comes to smaller grains like teff, amaranth, and even quinoa, I personally skip it to avoid that annoying mess, though running water through the back of the strainer helps get rid of any clinging seeds. I've never noticed an off taste—if anything, the funny flavor you mention might be due to storage problems or mild rancidity.

Behind the Scenes in Niki's Home Kitchen

Glad people are enjoying this series (even though it was kind of mortifying to write). Many more kitchens to come!

@PWNolan, your kitchen island setup sounds awesome. Maybe I will attempt this feat. Though lately I've been thinking about taking on a DIY pegboard situation? We shall see. As for the flour...I'm honestly not sure. I think I lugged some AP over to my boyfriend's house to make pasta—he has better countertops for it—which is the main thing I use flour for, since I'm not much of a baker or fryer of things.

@BostonAdam, thankfully, the mandoline can't cut when it's "closed," though I have taken off a chunk of finger on it for other even dumber reasons (do not slice on a mandoline while reading a magazine. It's just never a good idea.)

@mrobmsu, I honestly have NO idea. The gin is in there because of a long and boring story culminating in me forgetting to take it out.

@thingstea, sorry the gif bothered you. If others feel the same way, I'll change it up—let me know.

Serious Entertaining: A Bavarian-Style Alpine Feast

@AndroidUser, all great info. Though I didn't mean to imply that this would be the most authentic of menus, what with the inspiration being a ski lodge in NM.

Yes or No Sexy: Debunking the Valentine's Day Aphrodisiac

UHOH! Let's hope the angry commenter on this post doesn't decide to unleash his or her fury!

Yes or No Sexy: Debunking the Valentine's Day Aphrodisiac

@Niko Trantafillou Oh god I really hope that is not what is going on. Niki is that what is going on?! DID YOU HIRE SEXY SCIENTISTS AND NOT TELL ME?

Yes or No Sexy: Debunking the Valentine's Day Aphrodisiac

@dennis lee, I think now you have to tell us what you're doing for Valentine's Day.

and to everyone else, thanks for the kind words!

Yes or No Sexy: Debunking the Valentine's Day Aphrodisiac

@BostonAdam, I bought them at a bodega in my neighborhood, where they were unmarked. They were either red jalapeños or fresnos (maybe serranos? but they looked wider). Which aren't even that hot! Until you eat them straight. And then...they are.

Chain Reaction: We Try Papa John's New Chicken Poppers

@eilonwy, they're being marketed as "New" -- whether there's actually a difference remains unclear.

What Are Your Favorite Croissant Hybrids (Real or Imaginary)?

13 Great Kitchen Tools for Your Valentine

@whost, that's why we recommend picking a knife depending on intended use and personal preference—if your use is that heavy and sharpening is a concern, we've got a bunch of other recommendations that you might prefer.

As a happy owner of a Wusthof knife kit (distributed at my culinary school), I haven't had any problem sharpening my chef's knife evenly on a whetstone.

Vegan: The Best Sweet Potato and Bean Chili

@tea-and-syncope, YUP! fixed, thanks

Brooklyn on Parade at New York City Wine and Food Festival's Brooklyn's Backyard

Skylight One Hanson was brimming with some serious borough pride this weekend at New York Food and Wine Festival's Brooklyn's Backyard event. 28 local chefs turned out to deliver signature bites to the hungry crowd, serving up everything from spicy lemongrass chicken larb to fudgy ice cream sandwiches. Here's our look at some choice bites from the night,=. More

Lobster Roll Rumble: 19 Lobster Rolls We Ate Last Night

If you're a lobster, you should be pretty nervous around this time of year when TastingTable throws its annual Lobster Roll Rumble. Many pounds of lobster were consumed last night—boatloads, in fact, and that really isn't an exaggeration in this case. Lobster shacks and restaurants from across the country participated to show off their versions of the lobster roll. See all 19 that we ate! More